Friday, January 11, 2013

Eco Kids Column, February 2013

Pencinta Alam Newsletter February 2013
Eco Kids Column

By Wong Ee Lynn
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This attractive little poster was created by to remind us of ways we could cut down on the use of plastics in our daily lives. You could clip it out and put it on your fridge or noticeboard to remind you to take little actions such as bringing your reusable shopping bags and drinking water with you when you go out.

Here are some other steps can you take to reduce plastic use and waste:

1. Bring your own food containers to the shops for packing food in.
2.Pack your own lunch and snacks for school and activities. This will avoid the need to buy packaged snacks and drinks from the convenience store.
3. Try packing a "nude lunch", which is practiced in schools in New Zealand and many other countries. That means a lunch in a lunchbox/food container with no other packaging. You could try making your own sandwiches without clingfilm/plastic wrap and pack crackers and raisins that come from larger packaging instead of single-serve packets.
4. Find alternatives to plastic goody bags with plastic toys and party favours for your next party. Perhaps everyone could take home a novelty eraser and pen, a sheet of paper stickers, a bamboo whistle or a wooden top or yoyo. 
5. Travel prepared. Fill up small containers with shampoo, toothpaste, soap and other things you may need  during your travel or vacation from larger bottles and tubes at home. This reduces your need to buy little bottles or sachets of shampoo and other personal care products.
6. When at the supermarket, choose fruits and vegetables that are loose, not the ones that come in styrofoam trays and plastic clam boxes. At the very least, the plastic grocery bags can be reused. Fruits like bananas, watermelons and papayas may not have to be in plastic bags at all. Most store assistants are quite happy to stick the price tag on the fruit itself after weighing, if you ask them nicely.
7. Use a bar of soap for bathing and washing your hands. Those plastic pump bottles that liquid handwash and shower foam come in can amount to a lot of plastic waste, even if you buy refill packs. 
8. If you must go to a fast food restaurant, ask them nicely not to put a lid on or straw in your drink. If everyone did this, it would prevent a lot of plastic from ending up in the trash.
9. Find alternatives to plastic toys when buying gifts. Fun t-shirts, cloth bags, crayons, wood-free pencils, wood toys, books, board games and craft kits are all good alternatives.
10. Instead of breakable plastic toy versions of tools such as cooking sets and doctors' kits, consider getting fully-functioning, high-quality child-size tools that really work, such as stethoscopes, stainless steel kitchen equipment (e.g. from Ikea) and gardening tools. 

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